Islands are possibly made for romance. The mere mention of destinations for honeymoon or anniversary conjures images of tropical island clichés.
Lucky you because in an archipelago made up of 7,107 islands, your options are boundless! Whether you are seeking for a luxurious romantic escape or low-key vacation, you will most likely find it in the Philippines.
Boracay is passé; surprise your other half with a new yet equally enchanting destination. I've picked some of the country's lovely islands devoid of mass tourism to help you plan your romance-filled holiday:
- Siquijor – The mystic island of fire exudes with dramatic shoreline. For a plush romantic break, book at the seductive Kawayan Holiday Resort and marvel at the scenic fusion of azure and emerald green sea dappled with rock formations. Siquijor also abounds with mid-range waterfront resorts, try the laidback Coco Grove and laze on its long stretch of powdery white beach. For couples on a budget, don’t fret because Lorna’s End of the World has captivating beachfront rooms plus you can go boating in its cerulean waters for free. Relax at the resort, bask in the azure beaches, go diving or venture into more natural attractions that this enchanting island offers.
- Bucas Grande Island (Surigao del Norte) - Also called Sohoton Cove National Park, this chilled-out island deserves to be on your romantic getaway bucket list for many reasons! Pamper yourselves in a tranquil sanctuary while being embraced by emerald lagoons draped by limestone karts, stingless sea jellies, majestic caves and powdery white sand beaches. The luxurious air-conditioned cottages on stilts of Club Tara Resort are equipped with Jacuzzi and boasts of lovely lanais that looks out to the emerald green sea. But if staying here is way out of your budget, the island also offers budget accommodations like SIFAI Cottage, Cinnamon Island Cottage and Tiktikan Lake Cottage, all managed by cooperatives.
- Apulit Island (Taytay, Palawan) – Despite its gorgeous topography, this neighboring town of El Nido rarely sees tourists. Apulit Island creates an idyllic setting for all things love, that is, if you don’t mind splurging. The star of this stunning beauty is Apulit Island Resort which houses doting water cottages standing on emerald green lagoon set against a limestone cliff. Plunge into the placid waters bursting with kaleidoscopic marine life or take a refreshing dip at the pool. For low-key getaway, seek respite in the unassuming Flower Island Resort magnificently set on a pristine environment lapped by cerulean waters and kaleidoscopic marine life. Scale up the peak for a scenic view of the azure sea and its surrounding. The modest Dilis Beach Resort on the other hand proudly sits on a garden fronting a white sand beach.
- Apo Reef (Occidental Mindoro) – While most visitors come here to dive, it also beckons adventurous couples looking to laze on a vast stretch of secluded beach blissfully untainted by commercialism. This protected area under the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage is the second largest adjoining coral reef in the world. It has three islands, the largest being Apo Island which is an impeccable camping spot. Fall in love with its magical array of rainbow-hued fishes, corals, turtles and other marine life. Spend the day together walking leisurely around the interesting trails in the island will lead you to a mangrove boardwalk where you can go cruising in a small lagoon. Climb up the white lighthouse and admire the surreal view of the turquoise sea and the majestic mangroves forest. Cuddle up by the shore while watching the spectacular sunset.
- Manjuyod Sandbar (Negros Oriental) – Whisk your partner away to a postcard-perfect island that emerges when the tide is low. The three cottages on stilt in the middle of the paradisaical sea may be devoid of luxury trappings but it is an impeccable setting if you want to share intimate moments with your other half. Make your dreamy escape more dramatic by indulging on a thrilling dolphin watching activity in Bais.
- Malapascua (Cebu) - Laid-back and sultry, this gorgeous island known for its excellent diving spot off the northern coast of Cebu, has long caught the hearts of foreign tourists because of its excellent diving spot. Yet surprisingly, it has managed to maintain its tranquility. Charter a boat and spoil your other half with stunning beaches and scenery around the island. At dusk, laze around by the shores while sipping on cocktails and indulging on the scenery. And when the night falls, the island is lit by blue moonlight as you feast on seafood dinner while listening to the waves gently crashing on the shore.
Gael Hilotin traveled around the Philippines for 7 months. She blogs at The Pinay Solo Backpacker.